OPA Sky Astrology Journal: September Equinox – December Solstice


A Quarterly Journal of the Living Sky for Astrologers

by Adam Gainsburg



September Equinox – December Solstice, 2016


Welcome to Sky Astrology™

Sky Astrology is a sincere community effort to educate and empower astrologers and students with an enlivened knowledge and embodied experience of the living Sky. It’s a new (actually ancient) way of seeing and delineating celestial events based on their Sky factors, rather than their Chart-only factors. These include the planets’ heliacal phase, sky appearance, speed, brightness, visibility or invisibility, Earth proximity, latitude, declination, celestial course, star occultations, and constellational ingresses and egresses. While not all of these factors come into play at all times for every planet, there are always at least a few which contribute to a more embodied delineation of its meanings.  Sky Astrology brings the living Sky more tangibly into life on Earth!



MERCURY in the Sky

Morning Star -> Evening Star; extremely slow to max speed;
high and bright in morning -> invisible -> high and bright in evening



mercury-2At September Equinox, Mercury is as slow as he ever gets, juuust after his direct station as a Morning Star. This also signals he is close to his maximum elongation from the Sun, a symbol for maximum individuation of the Mercury function in collective consciousness now. Mercury at maximum elongation is always a strong time for clarifying what we’re thinking, what others are saying but really meaning, and the ways we may not be communicating what we really want. Note that max e for both inner planets occurs twice each cycle: once in the morning sky and once in the evening sky.


Sky Astrology Principle – Stations of the inner planets are intimately linked with their maximum brightness and visibility in our skies. While all astrology courses teach on the meanings of a planet’s station, few cover a planet’s visibility periods. The interconnection between the stations of the inner planets (direct or retrograde) and their maximum brightness and longest appearance in our skies signifies an invaluable opportunity to awaken (brightness) to subtle places in our own awareness which normally remain hidden or unconscious (inner planets). In this case, the Sky Factors of Mercury and Venus — brightness and duration of visibility — add significantly to astrological significations of the planets’ chart factors of sign, house and aspects.


On October 27, Mercury aligns with the Sun from Earth for his Superior conjunction. This is Mercury at his “interior-yet-distant” point, when he is furthest from us than at any other time in his cycle. In past essays, I’ve written that Mercury on the other side of the Sun requires us to “go through/mediate the Sun to access our Mercury”. Normally for us modern people, Mercury is, ahem, a no-brainer as he governs the speed of the mind and ubiquitous access to information. But at superior (exterior) conjunction, we’re required to deal with the ways we have become too attached to our mind at the expense of our vitality and consciousness. At 4 Scorpio in between the constellations of the Goddess and the Scales, this conjunction creates a kind of pre-show or preliminary set-up for what’s to come. Anything you’re considering now, you’d do well to ensure you have all the facts and that your emotions or instinctual needs aren’t driving this decision. 

The second week of December sees the next max elongation/station Rx for Evening Star Mercury in mid-Capricorn amidst the stars of the Archer. This is a time for finally unraveling and organizing yourself, and aligning your long-held(?) plans with action. You may not have to wait very long for feedback from the universe!


VENUS in the Sky

Evening Star; moderately fast speed;
visible after sunset and becoming brighter and higher throughout this period

Venus is moving through her Remembering & Embodiment Phase, a 5-6 month period in which her Evening Star light grows higher and brighter each evening after sunset. At the end of tropical Libra at September Equinox, she begins this period in the stars of the Virgin Priestess/Goddess constellation, near the benevolent star Spica, and travels through the constellations of the Scales, Scorpion, Archer and Goatfish. From now until December Solstice, Venus will meet up with a waxing Crescent Moon three times: October 3 at 12 Scorpio, November 3 at 19 Sagittarius, and December 3 at 25 Capricorn. In her orbit, she is gradually coming closer to Earth.



The areas of your life governed by Venus will see steady development in terms of how you interact with, rely on and come to trust others. After all, each of these is a reflection of how well we do them with ourselves first. My sense is new information will come to light which may bring new opportunities, may surprise/shock you, or may challenge you to deepen your commitment to what’s most important to you. November 10-11 sees Venus in line with the central channel of our galaxy, a potent! time for meditation and attunement to higher levels of consciousness. Again, things may surprise you here! Venus’ path now is in southern latitude but still close to the ecliptic. Resist the temptation to run with or believe every sign the universe seems to be giving you now. Definitely be open and welcome any information that comes naturally, but use discernment as there may not be as much support for materializing your plans as it might initially seem.


MARS in the Sky

Evening Star; fast and accelerating; distancing from Earth;
still quite visible in the west after sunset; gradually becoming dimmer and closer to the horizon with each sunset

The September Equinox through the end of September sees Mars in exact alignment with Galactic center. Either way, there is a huge amount of energy that wants to move out, into the world, into doing, exceeding or accomplishing. This can result in incredibly inspired actions or unfortunate re-actions. Ensure you’re choosing what you really want!




mars-2About 87° from the Sun as an Evening Star, Mars is completing his Destiny Challenge Phase marked by his Evening Sky square from the Sun. The unique Challenge when Mars is an Evening Star surrounds meeting personal limitations (internally or externally) in pursuit of a larger impact or contribution to one’s world. This is a challenge to our destiny or legacy, that area of our life which rests on much more than just personal wants and needs. It’s as if Mars’ ingress into tropical Capricorn — first through the stars of the Archer and then through those of the Goatfish — is challenging all of us to be our best not just for our friends and family but for our lasting influence on others. We will be faced with something previously hidden or suppressed — an inner fear or an outer limit — in this pursuit on October 19 when Mars conjoins Pluto at 15 Capricorn in the heart of the archer’s aim (see graphic).


JUPITER in the Sky

Invisible; maximum speed; furthest from Earth;
first new appearance (heliacal rising) signals the start of Jupiter’s new Libra cycle

Lord Jupiter is the great “Maker of More,” a phrase I find more accurate than “great benefic,” because Jupiter correlates with increases and expansions to that which we want but equally to that which we do not want.


Just after September Equinox, Jupiter completes his prior synodic cycle with the Sun and begins anew (September 26 at 3 Libra). This insemination of new light, which is the invisible start of the cycle (just as human conception begins new life invisibly), occurs near a visible star in the Goddess constellation, Zaniah, which correlates either to the throat area of the Goddess or to the large sheaf of wheat She is holding. It would seem from these images that Jupiter’s next cycle has much to do with finding or protecting our natural resilience against ‘external’ influences which run counter to our values. 

jupiter-2Then on October 15 at 7 Libra, Jupiter announces himself visually in the pre-dawn light. Though Jupiter is mythologically associated with great wisdom, here that wisdom is nascent, untested and may have a tendency to extremes (Libra), expressed outwardly as self-righteous behavior (defended as ethical justice), emotional defensiveness, or mental or spiritual dissociation. Please note that it may take until close to December Solstice for these extremes to find balance in our lives so remember to be patient with yourself, others, and the pace of positive change in your world. 

Sky Astrology Principle – Every planet, when first appearing over the eastern horizon before sunrise to begin its cycle, carries a quality of being “untested, naïve and/or foreign in its own skin” relative to its own significations. By next incorporating the planet’s sign position at its rising will either support or mitigate this quality. This produces a rich canvas of multivalent meanings with which to delineate a planet, well beyond what the chart or sky alone can provide. The beginning of a planet’s new synodic cycle with the Sun is always an appropriate time to ‘wait and see’ for the first indications of how those areas of our psyche and our lives are materializing before fully committing.


SATURN in the Sky

Evening Star; initially visible, later dimming and disappearing (heliacally setting) from the sky



Saturn begins this final quarter of 2016 still close to but departing the star Antares. His meetings with Mars here have been intensely reflective of the increasing turmoil in economics and politics. As Saturn is the slowest of the visible planets, visible conjunctions with other planets occur because they reach Saturn, never the opposite. Venus (October 29 at 14 Sagittarius), Mercury (November 23 at 16 Sagittarius) and the Sun (December 10 at 18 Sagittarius) are the meetings Saturn is laboring toward this period. Three of the four most ‘personal’ planets meeting with Saturn suggests events or changes beyond our personal range of influence may impact us more than we would expect them to. This can apply materially, emotionally or in another way. Rather than shoring up our defenses against this, it is far more prudent to be proactively honest with oneself about problematic or ‘stuck’ areas of one’s life. Strengthening our relationship with ourselves — honesty, responsibility, integrity — guarantees any surprises can be met with flexibility and eyes-wide-open rather than with bracing fear. 

December 10 will see the end of this Saturn Cycle when the Sun catches up with Saturn, placing Saturn thereafter on the other side of the Sun and portending his eventual heliacal rising. For any visible planet, the period from its Sun conjunction until making its first appearance as a morning star in the east is akin to a human embryo being conceived (Sun conjunction) until it is born (first visible appearance before sunrise). December 26 is Saturn’s heliacal rise at 20 Sagittarius indicating that Sagittarius is the overture sign energy for this upcoming Saturn cycle. In preparation, December 10-26 is a wonderful opportunity to regularly SLOW DOWN and attune or receive what the next year of Saturn-governed themes in your life may be bringing. Where is Capricorn (and Aquarius if you follow Traditional rulerships) on your chart? Which houses do Capricorn/Aquarius open? These provide a great starting point for investigation. 

Access the full journal here and visit OPA’s site here.